21 January, 2020

2020 Toyota Mirai: will next-gen fuel cell car make hydrogen mobility a reality?

The hydrogen fuel cell car – which emits pure water and can be recharged in a matter of minutes – could go mainstream this decade. Andrew English looks at Toyota's candidate, the Mirai. 

“The only thing in common between the first- and second-generation Mirai is the name,” says Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer on Toyota's flagship fuel cell car. 

 “The feeling of driving the new Mirai will be as good or better than that of a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz. Perhaps you think I'm exaggerating, but you'll have to be the judge.”

We'd already seen Toyota's Mirai Mk2 at the Tokyo Motor Show in Autumn, but this was our first opportunity to get close to the car in an “almost production” form and speak to Tanaka-san. 

“The efficiency of the fuel cell has been improved with better electricity generation and reduced loss of gas, and the motor has improved efficiency and there's a reduced loss of electricity in the system,” he says.

Longer, lower and bigger all round, the new Mirai is a rear-wheel drive saloon (the first model was front-wheel drive) and at 4,975mm long, 1,885mm wide and 1,470mm high running on a 2,920mm wheelbase, it's about the same size as a BMW 5-series, which is evidently the market that Toyota is gunning for with this car. It seats five, which is a step up from the four-seat Mk1, and the styling is handsome and conventional.

Getting the height down and more space inside meant splitting the hydrogen fuel load between three spun carbon fibre and aluminium pressurised tanks rather than two. There's a longitudinal one between the front seats and two transverse ones under the rear seat and boot floor. The hydrogen is stored at 700 bar (10,000psi) and with a capacity of 5.6kg (1kg more than the previous model), the new Mirai has a claimed range of 404 miles (650km), which is 30 per cent more than before, as long as you feather foot it. Most of that range comes from the extra fuel capacity, but Tanaka-san says that there have been efficiency improvements as well.

We're driving it in June, according to this likeable engineer. In the meantime he says that he expects the new model will sell in far greater numbers than the first Mirai, which since its 2014 launch has sold about 10,000 examples.

A lot of these customers have been research institutes, quasi-government organisations, and companies involved in the hydrogen economy. So will these new Mirais go to more real people who actually want to join the hydrogen economy? (Read more here)

Read more at : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/news/2020-toyota-mirai-will-next-gen-fuel-cell-car-make-hydrogen/

ource : Telegraph